Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Catching Up

To all my loyal readers, I apologize for not blogging recently. My mind is getting older, my thinking not as fast as it used to be; therefore, in the past month, I've had to deal with too many things, in too short of time, and thus, neglected my blog.

My niece, Aline, arrived from West Virginia to live with us at the end of March, and we have tried to introduce her to Maui and all it has to offer, have gotten her settled in the house, and she has also found a job that she loves at an animal refuge taking care of special needs rabbits. She loves it. My great-niece, Arley, has also been living with us almost a year and is attending beauty school, so with all that company brings to a household, I've been just trying to keep up with meals, laundry, shopping, sight-seeing, etc.

This morning in my devotionals, though, I read scripture that I just had to share with you, busy or not. The picture of the shepherd and his sheep was in almost every scripture I turned to this morning. The picture that remained with me is in Isaiah 40:9-11, and Revelation 7:17:

"See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power; and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:9-11)

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Rev. 7:17)

Jesus told his disciples that He was the Good Shepherd and often called his followers sheep, or "little flock." But God also called Jesus "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world." Jesus was both Shepherd and the Lamb. As God's sacrificial Lamb, He paid for our sins by His own blood. As the Shepherd, He will lead his flock to springs of living water in eternity with Him forever. Isn't that a marvelous picture. I love the Isaiah scripture and the picture it offers---Jesus carrying me in his arms close to his heart and leading me to the river of life that flows through the middle of the city of God.

Let's worship the Shepherd and the Lamb today!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Bradley's Birthday

Yesterday my youngest grandson turned 10 years old--double digits already. Where has the time gone since that eventful day as a newborn, our newest addition to the family? Bradley is one with a song in his heart. Even as a tiny infant, when fussy, he would quiet down immediately if you started humming in his ear. It was if he stopped crying or fussing so he could hear every note. He loved the little Christian songs he learned in the church nursery and later in Sunday School and would sing them word for word back to you if you but asked. On his 9th birthday last year, he asked for an iPod so that he could listen to his Christian praise songs any time he wanted without disturbing others. This year he got an iPulse, a fancy little gadget that he can plug his iPod into and beautiful lights pulse to the beat of the music throughout his room. Yes, God created him with a song in his heart and he hasn't stopped singing since his birth. I know that God can use that gift of song someday to bless others and bring joy to Bradley throughout his lifetime and bring glory to God through his love for music.

In this month's Readers Digest, I saw this quote and liked it very much: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song." God put a "song" in everything he created. The heavens and earth declare the glory of God. (Ps. 19:1) The trees of the forest sing for joy (Ps. 96:12) Rivers clap their hands and the mountains sing together for joy (Ps. 98:8). "All you have made will praise you, O Lord.." (Ps. 145:10a) "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day." (Ps. 96:1-2) There is a continual new song that will be sung forever in heaven: "You are worthy, our Lord and God." (Rev. 4:11).

As you count your many blessings daily from the Lord, let a song well up in your heart and give God the proper glory due to Him, just as every part of his creation does. Even the stones will cry out.

Happy Birthday, Bradley, and take good care of those cute little white rats you got for your birthday!
Nana (Sandy)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


God has granted most of us as humans with the wonderful gift of memory. However, because we are human, sometimes our memory fails us, such as a name of someone we know as well as our own, an address where we used to live, the name of a place where we have been, etc. Today we have unbelievable ways of preserving memories. We have digital cameras, computers where we store our memories, letters that we save from long ago that we can reread when we want. We put up monuments with the name and dates of birth and death of our loved ones as a form of memorial. Our memories of past people and events come flooding back when we go back and review these "memorials" and we have joy (or sadness) recalling the people and places God has placed in our lives over our life's journey.

In biblical times, God had his people put up altars built of rocks to remind them of His protection and provision for them during a particular time in their journey of life. Whenever they came upon those altars of rocks, they were to remind them of how they had gotten to that particular place and how God had blessed them in the past. In the Book of Joshua, we are told that when the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the promised land, the people built an altar to remind them of how God had stopped the flow of the river until every Israelite was safe on the other side. When all were safe, the river went immediately back to flood stage. A miracle that God had performed on their behalf was to be remembered as a blessing and that would give them hope that God would always be there to work another miracle in the future if they needed one.

Joshua 4:23-24 (NIV): "For the Lord your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God."

What reminds you for what the Lord has done for you in the past? Do you have a method of recalling your blessings from God? A journal? Paragraphs written in your Bible? A treasure you have placed aside to remind you? An album of pictures? By remembering what God has done for us in the past helps us to stay on the right path with Him in confidence of His faithfulness and love toward us for the future.

What a precious gift God gave us in giving us our memories!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Blessing of Work

Every human on earth has experienced work in some capacity one way or another in their lifetime. I would hazard to say that most of those people have also grumbled and complained about their work many times during their lifetime. After all, work is labor. It is toilsome and occupies most of our waking hours. It becomes mundane, oftentimes, boring, and probably is the cause of most of the stress in our lives.

Work starts early in our lives with having to do chores as children. How often do you hear a hearty, "Yes, Mom, I'd love to take out the trash." or "Yes, Dad, there's nothing I'd rather do than mow the lawn for you." Don't parents usually hear a groan instead, or deal with procrastination by having to repeat their request over and over again?

How about adults? Are we any different? Do we walk into our place of employment kicking up our heels eager and happy to get on with whatever we are expected to do? Do we anticipate a great day whistling while we work? I would say that most people drag their feet to work dreading to face the day and all the problems that come along with the work they do. Work becomes dull, mundane, oftentimes stressful, and something that HAS to be done to provide for their families. Why else would we anticipate vacation time so expectantly----ahhhh, a few days away from this toil and labor!!!

In the beginning, God Himself worked six days in creating the heavens and the earth and everything in them. Did He groan, moan, complain after His work was completed? No. He looked at his work with satisfaction and said it "was very good." When God placed man in the Garden of Eden, God put him there to "work it and take care of it." (Gen. 2:15). There was not the sin issue then to deal with in the Garden. Adam toiled with complete and utter enjoyment in his work. He did not have weeds, thorns, disease, insects, etc. to battle to keep the Garden perfect. Adam walked with God in the garden in perfect unity and fellowship as they enjoyed their creative work of their hands together.

Then Eve ate the apple and everything changed. The ground was cursed, and work became painful, hard and toilsome. Thorns and thistles had to be dealt with. Work brought sweat to the brow (stress). No longer was work a joy for Adam or the generations that followed.

Yet, in Ecclesiastes, Soloman discovered work as a blessing---a gift from God. "A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too I see as from the hand of God." (Eccles. 2:24) "That every man may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil---this is the gift of God." (Ecc. 3:13).

Work can bring satisfaction and contentment if we do what we do "as unto the Lord." It is our way of saying thank you to God for the skills and abilities He has given us in order to make the world a better, safer place to live for everyone. If we see work as a means of only satisfying our own greed, then we have missed the whole point of God's gift of work to us. He has given each of us different talents, skills and abilities to benefit mankind as a whole so that we can enjoy life more fully.

We can work grimly or gladly. We can do our work "heartily" or "hardly". We can give our all-out effort with a good attitude, or we can grumble and complain and accomplish little. Thank God for the job you have. You are there for a purpose. Fulfill that purpose to the best of your God-given abilities and trust that He will bless you for your toil and labor.

Enjoy your day and do whatever you do "as unto the Lord."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Living Hope

"Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er his foes...."


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who..has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (I Peter 1:3)

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22)

We have hope today because we serve a RISEN Savior!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

May this Easter be most blessed for you and your family as you harbor that blessed hope in your heart of eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Told You So!

During Jesus' three years of ministry on earth, Jesus taught the disciples so many things about Himself and tried to prepare them for what would take place in His future and in the future of all generations. In his last week before His crucifixion, He so wanted them to grasp the message He was trying to get over to them: that His time on earth was drawing nigh, that He would die, and that He would be resurrected on the third day, and then ascend into heaven, and that He would come again and receive them to Himself. They just didn't get the full picture! They knew Him as Lord and Savior, but they expected Him to set up His kingdom and proclaim Himself as Messiah without having to pay the penalty for mankind's sin by His own shed blood.

So when they experienced the terrible day of Christ's death and burial, they were disillusioned, devastated, sorrowful, and defeated. They gathered together in a room to mourn and wondered what would become of them now that all their hopes were dashed and ruined. Their Master was dead!

How could they have forgotten the words that Christ had so very carefully explained to them over and over again that yes, He would die, but that He would rise again on the third day and ascend into heaven to go to prepare a place for them.

As they were gathered in the room together having their own pity party, can you imagine what took place when Jesus appeared to them and began to rebuke them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him afer he had risen? It was as if the Lord was saying, "See, fellas, I told you so!"

Luke 24:44 says "He said to them, this is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms." Now do you believe Me (my addition).

"Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures." ( vs. 45)

From that moment on, the disciples changed completely. They became bold, courageous, fearless witnesses to all that Jesus had taught them and shared the good news of a risen Savior that awaits to save them according to their faith. The news spread through the land and is still being shared faithfully down through the centuries today. We serve a risen Savior!

Don't be one with a stubborn heart and a closed mind. He wants you to know the truth, and the truth will set you free. He is in heaven preparing a place for those who will accept Him and receive Him as Lord here and now. Don't wait too long to experience the joy of having your mind opened to understand. He is coming again as He promised.

Have a wonderful Easter celebrating the new life in you, the hope of glory!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Sun Stopped

When I was small living in Nebraska, I remember a day when we woke up to a pretty sunny day, but as the morning passed, the skies began to get an eerie darkness, and by noon it was as black as if it were midnight outside. My mom called my dad at work and asked him to come home as we were frightened wondering what was happening. Only a short time later, the blackness dissipated and the normal light of day returned. Dad suspected that a tornado had passed close by and we took a drive to investigate. Sure enough, the path of destruction proved that a tornado had passed through a nearby town.

There was another day in history where the sun stopped at the noon hour and lasted three hours. Blackness came over the whole land. It was at the very moment in time when Jesus, having been crucified and hung on a cross, gave up his spirit and died. His death was a voluntary act on his part, an obedience to His Father's will, in order to accomplish redemption for you and me. In response to the death of the very One who had created them, the sun stopped shining, the earth shook, and the dead rose from the tombs and walked about in the holy city. Also, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom, the curtain that once separated the people from the Holy of Holies. Now free access was made possible to all.

Was this man who died on the cross truly God? How could anyone even utter a doubt when even the very sun obeyed him and quit shining, the earth obeyed his command and shook, and the dead rose up and walked again!!! He truly was the Son of God who gave His life for the ransom of your sins and mine. Even His creation recognized and obeyed their Master.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!